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Colorado/Nebraska Wine Study Combines Tradition, Science to Check Quality

Colorado/Nebraska Wine Study Combines Tradition, Science to Check Quality

Colorado/Nebraska wine interests seek to use science with heritage for quality check.

The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board and the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association will participate in a wine quality assurance research study.

"Wine tasting is an ancient art form and this study hopes to modernize that process," says Doug Caskey, CWIDB executive director. "For example, traditional means may include detecting a particular aroma, but this new study will  ask the question: 'what are the levels of the aroma and  what is causing it.'"

The joint study will investigate a unique methodology for wine sensory quality  assurance evaluation, developed and first implemented at Penn State in 2007  by Stephen Menke, associate professor of enology.

The evaluation protocol consists of two panels, both composed of individuals n isolated booths, doing blind wine testing. All samples will be tagged blindly with a randomized code.

The first panel is trained to detect specific ranges of concentrations in wine of nine aroma chemicals involved in common wine faults. The panel will sniff the wine samples in the study, and not taste them.

These panelists may deduct points from a possible total  for each category of fault aromas, which can reduce the possible score.

The second panel will both sniff and  taste the same samples based on the traditional sensory or "hedonistic" methods and will evaluate the wines on a modified Davis 20-point scale, which includes flavor, appearance, color, aroma and mouthfeel.

Scores from both panels will be tabulated together to form a composite score in  hopes of finding conformity between the traditional and scientific methods.

The study will be monitored by Menke, now a CSU researcher, who also serves as the Colorado State enologist, and by Susan Cuppett from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Titled "Comparison and Scoring of Two Types of Wine Quality Assurance Panels with a Derived Composite Score of Both Panels," the study will be conducted in a the UNL Sensory Lab.

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